If you are a woman who is going through menopause, it's important to stay up to date with your preventative medical care. While you are no longer in your child bearing years, this doesn't mean you can start skipping your yearly gynecological exam. In fact, as you get older, your chances of getting cancer will increase. Pelvic exams are one of the most important early detection tools when it comes to cervical and other cancers related to the female reproductive system. While you won't need to get a Pap smear done every year to check for abnormalities with the cells of your cervix, you still need to get a pelvic exam done every year.
What a Pelvic Exam Is For
A pelvic exam is done manually by your treatment provider. During the exam, your doctor is checking for physical abnormalities. Your uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, bladder, and rectum will be checked. If you are a larger woman, this exam may be a bit uncomfortable as your treatment provider tries to feel for problems within your reproductive organs. This exam can be life saving, and your doctor can discuss any abnormal findings with you at the time of the exam.
Screening After Menopause
You still have to get Pap smears when you are in menopause. This test looks for cancerous cells on your cervix, and the current recommendation is a Pap smear every three years once you have had three years in a row of normal Pap smears. In addition, to stop getting tests every year, you must also have no history of abnormal Pap tests. If you have had a complete hysterectomy, you can probably stop getting Pap smears. If the hysterectomy was due to an invasive cervical or uterine cancer, you will probably have to continue with this screening.
If you are 65-70 years old, and you have had no abnormal Pap smears in the last ten years, then you can stop getting the screening done. You will still need to have pelvic exams every year though.
There are few symptoms associated with early cervical cancer, and screening is the only method of finding the cancer early. Once cervical cancer becomes advances, you may have bleeding in between periods. When this occurs, you need to see your doctor right away to discuss your concerns. While you may bleed irregularly while going through menopause, this is not a normal occurrence if you have been done with your period for some time. For more information, contact experts from establishments like Women First OBGYN.Share
18 November 2016
After watching my mother navigate treatment for breast cancer in my early teens, I knew pretty much what to expect from my dad's diagnosis with prostate cancer. What I didn't know was how different chemotherapy and radiation can affect different people. My mother became very ill while my dad seemed to weather the treatments with few ill effects. I spent a long time researching the differences in treatments, types of chemotherapy, and how each one can react differently with the body. I created this blog to help others understand the same things, because I knew I couldn't be the only one unfamiliar with it. I hope it helps you if someone you love is facing treatment for any type of cancer.